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The hustle and bustle of sending your kids back to school can be stressful. Here are eight tips to help you stay stress-free and prepare for the coming school year.
1. Shop strategically.
"Your kids don't really need five new outfits; buy only what your kids really need." Figure out what they've outgrown, then determine what they need to fill in those gaps and purchase accordingly. It shouldn't be a grand – and painfully expensive – shopping event.
When it comes to shopping for supplies, you might want to wait until after the first day of school, when supply lists are often sent home. "Sometimes waiting helps you be a bit more economical," says Beuermann-King.
Beuermann-King recommends getting your children involved in making the schedule. "Having your kids decide on the routine will be less frustrating than you telling them that they have a certain amount of time in the morning or that they have to get their homework done as soon as they come home," she says.
By adding their input, your kids will be less frazzled and more co-operative – and you'll be less stressed as a result.
Your kids can put away their own belongings and easily find them the next day. They can even pack their own lunches, saving you time and anxiety.
"Your mood goes up and down the same way your kids' [moods] do when it comes to food and energy," says Beuermann-King. Skip sugary cereals and carbohydrate-laden meals. Instead, opt for a protein-rich breakfast that includes eggs, oatmeal or turkey bacon.
The protein will provide plenty of energy until lunchtime, and will prevent spikes in blood-sugar levels that can leave you irritable and anxious.
"Don't be afraid to ask for help and carpool with other parents. You'll end up driving a few times every few weeks and it will cut down on travel time," says Beuermann-King.
Just be sure to schedule the time into your week and stick to it. "We usually give up our 'me time' first," says Beuermann-King. "One of the quotes that I like is: 'How thin can I spread myself before I no longer exist?' We're so used to taking care of everybody else that we forget to take care of ourselves."
Don't forget your own needs. You can't look after others if you don't look after yourself.
"As adults, many of us have lost the ability to laugh and have fun," says Beuermann-King. "Make sure you laugh and enjoy." Keep a file of humorous email jokes or photos that you can turn to in a pinch, or watch funny movies and TV shows to reap the healthy benefits of laughter.
Aim for between seven to nine hours of sleep and cut out caffeine before bedtime. During that time, you should also forgo watching TV, exercising and working on brain-taxing activities such as managing your finances.
Your brain needs to slow down before bedtime so that you can fall asleep quickly and snooze soundly.
For more tips, check out everything you need to know for back to school.